Our final profile on a former Fisher Cat and his major league debut focuses on outfielder Kevin Pillar. A rising star who came from the unknown abyss that is Division II college baseball, Pillar earned his MLB debut last August after destroying Double-A pitching in similar fashion to his first two seasons of professional baseball.
While Pillar didn't have the debut he'd dreamed of (.206 average, 3 home runs), he still managed to hit .307 between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. He followed that up with a brief stint in the second half of the Dominican Winter League playing with Escogido in Santo Domingo.
He talked about his first go-round in the majors - and the promise to get married once he got there - with broadcaster Tom Gauthier during the Blue Jays visit to Fenway Park in September.
Better Early than Late
I think I got up here a little bit earlier than I had planned, starting the season in New Hampshire, but it was definitely really exciting. You imagine what you think the big leagues are like, but you get there and it's even better than you imagined - the accommodations, the stadiums, and the atmosphere. It's everything you think it would be, and even more.
The Wow Moment
I think my very first game (in Toronto) was the biggest 'wow' moment. We happened to be playing the Red Sox and Rogers Centre was packed that night. I wasn' table to get a hit that first night, but I made a good play in the field and it ended with a walk-off base hit. That was pretty special. All the stuff you watch on MLB Network, getting to be a part of it was pretty cool.
No Easy Way to Get Acclimated
There is no easy way to get acclimated. Getting thrown right in may work for some people. I know when (Ryan) Goins came up, he got to watch a game from the dugout at Yankee Stadium, and then play the next day. I know he's had more success than I have, but who knows if that's the reason. There is no easy way to prepare yourself except to get in the game.
Disappointment is the appropriate word. Disappointment in not getting a chance to play everyday. Disappointed in what I did when I had my chance to play every day before (Anthony) Gose and (Moises) Sierra came up here. I'm not stupid, and I understand the manager's decision, and Gose and Sierra both ran with their opportunities. But I'm not going to sulk over it. I'm going to put my work in - in the weight room, in the cage - and chomp at the bit to get my opportunity to play again. It does make you realize that opportunity in this game might be short.
The Only Place to be
Once you get the experience, there is no other place to be. I never understood why guys still making good money playing in Triple-A were upset that they were there. In Triple-A, the accommodations are good, the pay can be good, and the baseball is good, but once you experience what it's like up here, there is no other place to play. I was always brought up that it's hard to get here and even harder to stay, and I'm getting a taste of that.
The wedding, once I made the major leagues, was going to be as early as (October, 2013). But I told my fiancée that I wanted to play winter ball, especially after the disappointing start to my big league career, and I wanted to go down and work on some things and improve. Now, we're going to plan the wedding this off-season and then have it next year.
No Special Treats…Yet
I have this new addiction to saving money now that I'm making money. We're always surrounded by malls and I go in there with the intention of buying something all the time. I just never pull the trigger now because having money is pretty cool. I'm sure this offseason there will be a time where I splurge a little bit on something I always really wanted.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.